BuzzFeed, Inc. is expanding its suite of proprietary Lighthouse data services to international markets in the UK, Canada, Australia and Latin America.
Lighthouse – which allows advertisers to access BuzzFeed’s first-party audience data to gain consumer insights and target ads on its sites – will be rolling out to international editions of BuzzFeed, including licensed ones such as the UK edition of Complex Networks, under Manchester-based agency w00t! Media. The initial rollout began last week when BuzzFeed teams began discussions with advertisers, and the plan is to have campaigns using Lighthouse tools run on BuzzFeed sites starting September 1. said Josh Fromson, vice president of corporate and international sales at BuzzFeed.
BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti said on the company’s first-quarter earnings call in May that it would invest in three areas in particular going forward, including Lighthouse. The suite of data services launched in the United States in March 2021, and audience data from Complex Networks was integrated into the suite in April 2022.
Between 50% and 75% of all BuzzFeed ad transactions in the United States use Lighthouse, a spokesperson said.
So how does Lighthouse work? If someone clicks on a few shopping items on Household Goods, the data is aggregated across a portfolio of sites and anonymized for ad targeting. This segment then becomes available in Lighthouse. On Amazon Prime Day, for example, BuzzFeed’s shopping content drove new audience segmentations that are now available to advertisers, including “Amazon Prime Readers,” or the 6.3 million people who read anything on Amazon Prime on BuzzFeed sites.
Lighthouse currently has over 1,000 audience segments, such as “spicy food lovers”, “sneakerheads”, and “pet parents”.
Depending on the company, advertisers can use this data to learn more about specific audiences or to inform campaign distribution and audience segmentation to improve campaign performance. Lighthouse is integrated into media plans, with targeted segments applied to a campaign’s line items, Fromson said.
“Looks like [BuzzFeed has] a considerable presence abroad. I think it’s a smart business move on their part,” said Seth Hargrave, CEO of media buying agency Media Two Interactive. “This says a lot about the overall trajectory of the industry in creating additional walled gardens of first-party data.”
BuzzFeed said it has an audience of 76 million monthly unique visitors in Latin America, 20 million in the UK, 13 million in Canada and 9.5 million in Australia. Lighthouse has audience data of 158 million people in the United States on BuzzFeed Entertainment, BuzzFeed News, Tasty, HuffPost and Complex Networks, according to the company.
Publishers continue to aggregate audience data into their portfolios and provide first-party data options that can reach global audiences “Helps us as buyers navigate some of the complexities of international privacy issues,” such as GDPR, Hargrave said.
“It gives us an option that’s basically a safe place for our advertisers trying to navigate those waters. That’s where I see the biggest benefit, in terms of the scale they can provide and that it’s This is also first-party data,” he added.
Much of Lighthouse’s international launch centers on Fromson, who joined BuzzFeed through its acquisition of Complex to lead corporate and agency relationships across the company and streamline international operations by working with sales leaders, content and advertisers from BuzzFeed, Inc. markets outside of the United States
Complex Canada’s operation, for example, is moving internally under BuzzFeed Canada, which will bring the “foodies” of Complex’s First We Feast and BuzzFeed’s Tasty in Canada together under one roof for data and targeting capabilities, Fromson said. .
Proprietary data tools from a publisher like BuzzFeed are a “double-edged sword,” Hargrave said, because BuzzFeed “creates another walled garden.”
“As a buyer, we want to be able to remove them and have visibility into all the different data sets. So that’s where scale is very important for us,” he said. “The less reliance we have on third-party cookies – and being able to combine both contextual options with first-party data – is a solid offer and a very safe buy-side strategy.”